2010 Ford F-450 Review
The standard among heavy-duty pickups.
The Super Duty rides well, and even an empty dually won't send your head rocking back and forth like that of a bobblehead doll.
While 20-inch wheels may look better, they tend to degrade ride comfort so if your driving involves marginal roads, or no roads at all, better to stick with the standard size. Regardless of hype, no heavy-duty pickup rides like a car, and the Super Duty is no different. The only instance in which a competitor might hold an advantage over the Super Duty in terms of ride quality is with GM's full-size 4WD steering precision or ride comfort, a tradeoff many happily accept to get the Ford's solid front axle design, which is often considered superior in durability.
If you're not accustomed to driving full-size pickups you may find yourself trapped in a strip mall feeling unable to escape. Otherwise you'll find the Super Duty has no obvious drawbacks in maneuverability for such a behemoth, and the cut-down front windows, mirrors, and clear bodywork edges give good indications of presence relative to surroundings. If you haven't anything heavy to carry or tow, a Super Duty's capabilities will far exceed your requirements. On the other hand, when towing a big trailer, you'll love the secure feeling it offers when wind and weather add to the challenge.
The word handling isn't ascribed to heavy-duty pickups as much as control is, and the Super Duty feels comfortable even with heavy loads. Big pickups like this will never stop like cars, but the Tow Command system can't be beaten; the Super Duty does not offer a factory exhaust brake option like the Dodge Cummins, a feature equally useful on intermountain hauls.
Underway, we noted a marked absence of wind noise in the SuperCab. Good, tight sealing around the center pillar means that big front door requires a solid yank to close with all windows up, however. The diesel is so quiet you won't hear any of it at cruising speeds and road noise is reasonably controlled since the nearest wheel is not right under your feet.
The 6.4-liter diesel engine was all-new in 2008, with just two parts shared with the previous 6.0-liter diesel. It is much quieter and cleaner (in some cities the exhaust may be cleaner than the air going in). Apart from the speed with which it barrels up hills and the probable 10 percent to 40 percent better fuel mileage, driving the diesel is not noticeably different than driving the gas engines. Note that on the F-450, the diesel is de-rated to 325 horsepower and 600 pound-feet of torque, and that Ford's five-speed automatic transmission falls one gear short of the six-speed automatics from GM and Dodge.
The standard 5.4-liter V8 is the cost leader, and it's a good choice if you don't plan on towing anything more than 5,000 pounds over relatively rolling countryside. Those who might carry a full load of tools or cement and tow a trailer but not drive a lot of miles should consider the stronger V10. For maximum towing or high-mileage service, the diesel can't be beat, and neither can its price tag, above $7,000.
Changes between the F-250 and F-350 SRW (single rear-wheel) are essentially limited to the F-350's capability of carrying another 1,000 pounds. The F-350 DRW (dual rear-wheel) goes another step further in payload and frequently more important, much better trailer towing stability. The dual rear wheels also add great stability for camper carrying. The maximum tow rating on some F-350 DRWs is more than 18,000 pounds, but remember those ratings are given with a nearly empty, low-optioned truck.
The F-450 model is a crew-cab, long-bed-only truck that takes a medium-duty chassis cab and adds a pickup box much like aftermarket firms have been doing for years for affluent trailer pullers. An F-450 can carry more than 6,000 pounds (the weight of an F-250 regular cab) and tow as much as 24,500 pounds, but still enjoy pickup perks like a usable bed, no stops at roadside scales, and a factory warranty. Just make sure your driver's license can handle that load, too. You can spot an F-450 by the 10-lug, 19.5-inch wheels and huge rear differential housing. The tires alone contribute to a firmer ride, and the added rolling resistance and fixed mass bring increases in acceleration times and stopping distances. If you have a big, heavy trailer this is the way to go; if not, you really don't want an F-450.
• For more information such as specs, prices, and photos of the 2010 Ford F-450, click here: 2010 Ford F-450.